Thomas Caldwell was born on May 4, 1851 in Frierson, DeSoto Parish on the Land's End Plantation near Shreveport, Louisiana.27 Caldwell's parents were house servants at the plantation and he grew up alongside the plantation owner's daughter, Elizabeth "Litza" Frierson.28 When Frierson married George Washington Butler, she was given a family slave, Thomas Caldwell, as a wedding present.
Caldwell arrived in Galveston County with his owners near the end of the Civil War. He was present at the Clear Creek containment camp and assisted with cattle drives alongside the Brittons and Calvin Bell. Following the war, Caldwell lived and was employed at the Butler Ranch and assisted on the Chisholm Trail cattle drives for many years.
Sophia "Sophie" Richardson was born in Montgomery, Alabama in October 1861. She and Thomas married in 1877 and they began raising a family. In 1892, the Caldwell's finally moved off the Butler Ranch and settled in Hitchcock where Thomas Caldwell was the principal founder of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, the first African American church in the area, in 1901.29 Together, the couple had twelve children. Their daughters, Effie, Cubie, and Ollie married into the two Bell families in the community, and a fourth daughter, Lillie, married into the Britton family. Although the original Caldwell's never officially lived in the 1867 Settlement, they have strong ties to the founding families.